WCCS teacher contract up for vote by board

COLUMBIA CITY — A special meeting has been scheduled for the Whitley County Consolidated School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees in order to possibly ratify an agreement with the local teachers union.“We’ve been working on contract negotiations and we reached settlement, we hope,” said Corporation Superintendent Dr. Patricia O’Connor today.“We set (the meeting) up in order for the board to ratify the agreement.”O’Connor said the teachers are expected to approve the agreement today, leaving only the school board signatures remaining.The superintendent said the special meeting had nothing to do with the board being a meeting behind since the April 4 meeting was canceled.An executive session is scheduled prior to the Tuesday public meeting at 4:30 p.m.The contract is between the corporation and the Whitley County Teachers Association, the union that represents WCCS teachers.The ratification is the only action item on Tuesday’s agenda.In recent months discussions in the board room have been primarily focused on projected shortfalls in the school system’s budget and what to do about it.O’Connor and Corporation Business Manager Tony Zickgraf have been putting together a plan to keep the district in the black — a plan that just may come with some personnel cuts.Some of those proposed reductions include six teaching positions and one office assistant at Indian Springs Middle School, two special education positions and reducing two guidance counselors at the primary and middle schools. Also proposed is the elimination of 8.5 teaching assistants.O’Connor also recommended a reallocation of the corporation’s Professional Development funding for 2011 and 2012 as a budget-reduction measure.The proposed cuts, along with several measures already taken, could save the corporation $383,815 in 2011 and $996,411 in 2012, according to O’Connor.Action on these issues is scheduled for the April 18 meeting.